Back in 2015, the Salford Star reported how Salford Royal Hospital was under fire for 72 cancelled operations in a six month period between April and October (see previous article – click here). Two years on, and in just a three month period, between April and June 2017, there were 255 cancellations.*
A report being discussed by Salford councillors this morning notes that the Surgery and Neurosciences division of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust is now in special measures as "The number of cancelled operations on the day for non-medical reasons is at an unacceptable level".
Figures contained in the report show that during the financial year 2016-17, there were 711 'on the day' cancelled operations, a rate of 3.46%, compared to 432 cancelled operations, or 2.26% the previous year.
The majority of cancelled operations occurred in Neurosurgery, Surgery and Orthopaedics, and half of these cancellations were caused by a lack of beds in wards and critical care, while 'no theatre time' also accounted for many.
To try and improve the situation the Trust now has a target of no more than 24 cancelled operations per month, with measures including a new Surgical Short Stay Unit and financial penalties introduced at Salford Royal's 'joint venture' Manchester Orthopaedic Centre based at Trafford General Hospital.
The report states that the "plan is being effective as the number of cancelled operations on the day has reduced fairly significantly". The aim is to reduce the current level of cancelled operations from 5.02%, to 2.27% by March 2018.
In 2015, a health worker at Salford Royal told the Salford Star that one of the reasons for the cancellations of operations was a "money saving exercise by management".
Nowhere in this current report is a lack of resources mentioned. Rather, the report seems to blame ill patients... "Throughout the year, but primarily during the winter months, there were a high volume of medical outliers occupying surgical and neuro beds", it states.
* In May there was a spike in cancelled operations due to the Arena bombing incident but the overall trend was an increase in cancelled operations.